Twenty-five years ago today the Woman On The Verge agreed to marry me. I’ve been married to her for half of my life. If I could see where we are now from where we stood together on that beach on Maui twenty-five years ago, I think I’d be both pleased and horrified. It ain’t all been pretty. But it is the most significant work of my life: what I’ve spent myself on, what I’ve relied upon, what I’ve abused and neglected, what I’ve bucked against and been blind to, what I’ve bound myself to and bitterly fought, what I’ve lost and regained, what I’ve made bleed and have bled for.
Yolanda, I thank you. I yet pledge my troth to thee.
In sickness and in health. In good times and bad. You can’t yet count on me to be always wise or good, but I will be the last man standing when the lights go out. Up to my knees in the bodies of my foes.
Most of whom are only myself, I know.
How has it been my great good fortune to have loved you, and to have been so loved in return? What great deeds am I being rewarded for? Nothing I have done in this life makes me deserving of your love, yet I am in possession of it.
I am undone by you.
I am proud to have won you to me. Proud and humbled. I stand ever in awe of your great goodness, your matchless heart, your quiet strength, your unerring moral compass, your limitless kindness, your wild fearlessness, your gladness at being in the world. You are my teacher, my guide, my mirror, my eyes and my hands, my helpmeet and best friend, my lover, my destroyer, my salvation, the stone I break myself open upon, the ship that saves me from drowning, the shore I wash up on when I do shipwreck; the one who enslaves me, and the one who picks the locks and sets me free.
I think I’m a better man now than I was when you married me, and I know if that’s true at all it’s due to you and your hard work.
I love you.
I hope you’ll yet bind yourself to me for those days that remain to us on this earth.
How about a big hand for the pretty lady, folks? Don’t she deserve it?
You bet she does.